Header Flanges

A header, also known as an exhaust manifold, serves the purpose of collecting exhaust gases from several cylinders into a single pipe within the engine compartment. An automobile header, or exhaust manifold, usually consists of a material such as stainless steel or simple cast iron. These durable materials are used to create a device that attaches to the engine and collects engine exhaust from various cylinders before delivering it to the external exhaust pipe to be exhausted from the vehicle. Headers are a crucial mechanical component of the vehicle because they are critical towards the intake and exhaust system of the engine, which is directly related to fuel consumption and various other aspects of performance. Header flanges are basically heavy duty rubber rims, also referred to as internal ribs or lips, which protect the headers from becoming worn down over time by everyday wear and tear. The following paragraphs discuss the benefits of header flanges, as well as popular types and their average costs.

The Benefits of Header Flanges
Most mechanics recommend installing header flanges on vehicles that utilize high-performance exhaust manifolds (headers). This is because after a couple of months or years of the headers actively working to extract exhaust from the engine, the part of the header that meets the engine can be worn down and deteriorated. By using header flanges you can minimize the amount of exhaust manifold replacements you'll need to buy for your vehicle over the years. Header flanges will ensure that your headers do not break prematurely, leaving your engine without the proper resources to adequately exhaust gases and maintain a constant airflow. Automobiles need three things to run efficiently – airflow, coolant (such as water), and gasoline. Since headers are a crucial component that contributes to the airflow of an engine, header flanges are also a necessary component to maintain the safety of the exhaust manifolds themselves.

Important Features for Header Flanges
Ideally, you'll want to use header flanges that are cut with laser precision, and those that are made from the most durable materials (such as stainless steel). Most auto-parts shops and retailers online that sell header flanges offer them in a variety of styles and compositions, with the most popular types being comprised of 1018 cold rolled steel or 304 stainless steel. These heavier metals can effectively reduce the risk of warping problems that are commonly seen in other lightweight header flanges. Although the majority of header flanges are made from materials that are about a quarter of an inch to 5/16 of an inch thick, the highest quality header flanges are precision cut with lasers and are comprised of at least 3/8 of an inch in material. Some header flanges, known as turbo flanges, are designed for engines that utilize turbochargers, and are therefore thicker, usually consisting of a half an inch of mild or 304 stainless steel.

Popular Types and Typical Costs of Header Flanges
The most popular type of header flanges are those that are made for Chevrolet trucks, which usually consist of stainless steel, mild steel or 1018 cold rolled steel. The typical cost of a pair of header flanges can range anywhere from $50-$200, depending on the brand, material, distributor, and their durability. A single header flange can be purchased for about $25-$50 online, and being that most header flanges are relatively lightweight the shipping and handling costs associated with ordering one over the Internet are usually nominal. If you're planning on installing the header flanges yourself, then you'll want to consider a complete header flange kit that includes all of the resources and documentation needed to perform a header flange installation.

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